VDOT selects bored tunnel for HRBT expansion

6 August 2018

US – The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) announced August 2 the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel (HRBT) Expansion project will move forward with the bored-tunnel construction method to deliver the next connection across the Hampton Roads harbor.

The department said both competing teams – Hampton Roads Capacity Constructors and Hampton Roads Connector Partners – notified VDOT they selected the bored-tunnel method as the basis for their bid proposals, which will be submitted later this year.

“The selection of a bored tunnel means Hampton Roads will see some of the world’s most sophisticated tunnel technology at work," said VDOT commissioner Stephen Brich. "Once complete, this new crossing will greatly improve accessibility, transit, emergency evacuation, and military and goods movement along the I-64 corridor,”

Although the immersed-tube method was used to construct all 10 of Hampton Roads’ existing crossings – from the original Downtown Tunnel in 1952 to the new Midtown Tunnel in 2016 – recent technology advances have now made bored tunnels feasible in the region’s soft soils, VDOT said. The Parallel Thimble Shoal Tunnel, currently under construction at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, is also being built as a bored tunnel for the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel Commission.

The project represents VDOT’s first bored tunnel and will build a new bridge-tunnel adjacent to the existing HRBT while widening the four-lane segments of I-64 in Hampton and Norfolk. The project cost is estimated between USD 3.3bn and USD 3.8bn, with contract award expected in early 2019. The majority of project funding will be provided by the Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission, with federal support and other public resources anticipated.